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Animation showing a dinosaur standing next to a palm tree and then it begins to snow.

 

Image that says Orbital Changes.
Image that says: One hundred-fifty years ago, explorers found marks which show that glaciers moved across the land, almost a mile high they'd stand.  Earth goes though orbital changes, and its shape or axis rearranges.  This may have made a world of ice, for which the dinos paid the price.

"Brrrrrr! Where the heck did all that snow come from? I thought this was the tropics!"

"Man! Is that a glacier over there? How's a self-respecting dinosaur supposed to get a square meal? The snow and ice are so thick that even Steggie's Gourmet Burger Heaven is buried! I don't think I can make it without my daily Quarter Tonner Veggie Burger! (Dinosaurs eat a lot, you know!)" "This is too cold for me! How did this happen? There's not an asteroid or volcano in sight!"

Actually, in this alternative explanation of the demise of the dinosaurs, the climate change that destroyed their food supplies came not from major sudden disasters, but from slow changes in the orbit of the Earth itself. This explanation is a little complicated, so pay close attention.

The story begins about 150 years ago when scientists learned to recognize the piles of rock and the marks on rocks left by small glaciers in the Alps. They then found tell-tale evidence of giant glaciers scattered over much of North America and Europe. These giant glaciers or ice sheets were nearly a mile thick and extended across millions of square miles of land that today are covered with grass and forest. Careful study showed that the ice sheets had grown and shrunk across the continents not once, but many times. The glaciers appeared and disappeared during repeated cycles of hot and cold weather, each cycle lasting about 100,000 years.

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Image that says Dinosaur Floor.
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Image of a star. Orbital Changes
The Ice Ages
What Is an Orbit?
The Shape of Earth's Orbit
The Tilt of Earth's Axis
The Wobble of Earth's Axis

 

 
             
     
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Orbital Changes | The Ice Ages | What Is an Orbit? | The Shape of Earth's Orbit | The Tilt of Earth's Axis | The Wobble of Earth's Axis

Giant Impact | Super Nova | Disease | Volcanoes | Orbital Changes | Meet the Dinosaurs | Into the Future

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Last updated on
April 28, 2005

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